Merrell Reflex Mid GoreTex Hikers - Smoke
My third pair of hiking boots. Honestly, my second pair (below...in the "retired gear" section) held up fine. But, after beating the snot out of them for over 350 miles, it was time for an upgrade. And, these made the perfect Christmas gift to myself. As of 2/4/14, I've logged just about 100 miles with these guys and, so far, I love them. They keep my feet dry while allowing them to breath...a perfect combination for hiking long distances in the winter months.
CamelBak Alpine Explorer 100 Oz Hydration Pack - Fiery Red / Gargoyle
My second hiking pack. I bought this in December of 2012. I was getting tired of having to stop every time I wanted to rehydrate. With this pack, I'm able to keep moving while staying hydrated. This will be key for the summer months.
A great app which allows you to track your hikes. It keeps track of distances traveled and time to travel those distances. Once you finish, it will tell you how many calories you burned, elevations you climbed, and provides a map of your hike! I even change the settings so I can track myself when I take my dog on walks. As of 12/30/2013, I've used this app to log over 1500 miles!
Halo 2 Charger
My in-laws bought me this for Christmas in 2013, after my mother-in-law saw it offered on QVC. I've only used it a couple of times, but on both occasions it doubled the battery life of my phone...which allowed me to get a map from the app above on 10+ mile hikes! So far, I love this thing!
CFPA Walk Book
The Connecticut Forest & Parks Association puts out this great walk book, which contains maps and descriptions of the hikes one must complete in order to become a member of the CT400. There are two walk books (East & West). Both contain maps and trail descriptions for the two Central CT Trails (The Metacomet and The Mettabasset). Other than that, the two books are broken down by region. I've been working on the East walk book and I would suggest you start here as well. From what I hear, the hiking in the West book (which contains the hikes in the northwest corner of the state) is more rugged. So, start here and work your up. That's what I'm doing. You can purchase either (or both, if you're feeling ambitious) walk books at http://ctwoodlands.org/
Trekker Hiking Poles
This was the first piece of hiking gear I ever purchased. Long before I started hiking, I purchased this for walking in Burlingame State Park & Campground. This nifty little guy has three sections so you can adjust the height. I'm 6'2" and it adjusts to be tall enough for me to use. My wife is about 5'3" and she can adjust it for her height so it is comfortable. We don't have children but I would bet it adjusts to any height suitable for them. On top of the adjustability, it has a compass which I believe to be fairly accurate. I only used it a couple of times before Jaci lost it on the Metacomet Trail somewhere, but she eventually replaced it and gave me a second one for Christmas in 2013. They come in handy for those steep climbs or over long distances when you just need something to lean on.
Cabela's Outdoor Gear Dry-Plus Orange Hunting Jacket
While I've never actually hunted anything in this jacket (other than the next big adventure), I can say that it has kept me warm and safe by making me visible to hunters. Hunting season in CT is right in the thick of the winter months. So, if you are going to be out hiking, you need something that will keep you warm, dry, and visible. I've warn this thing in single digit temps with only a T-Shirt underneath. It rocks!
The North Face Denali Gloves
I've had to purchase a few pair of these. So, you may think they aren't the best quality...but they are super cheap when you compare them with some of the other gloves at your local outdoor retailer. I don't mind buying a new pair each winter. Honestly, with all of the shoveling we do here in CT, I'd probably have to buy a new pair each year regardless. So, why spend the extra money on sixty and seventy dollar gloves?
Mens Under Armour EVO Cold Gear Hood Gaiter Hat Camo Orange Blaze
Keeping my head and face protected from the cold during the winter months, this gaiter hat is awesome! I like that it allows me to adjust in cases where I don't need to cover both my head and my face.
Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid Hiking Boots
My second pair of hiking boots. After logging more than 350 miles on these guys from December of 2012 to December of 2013, it was time to put them on the shelf. They held up well while I beat the snot out of them during the winter months. If you are looking for a mid-level boot at a mid-level price range, these are the shoes for you. If you are looking for something a little more basic for a beginner, check out the pair I first used (below).
Hi-Tec Men’s Tauranga WP Shoes (Dark Chocolate/Smoke)
My first hiking shoes. I retired them after Christmas 2012. I had put about 200 miles on them and the soles started to wear thin. So, I upgraded to the Merrells you see above. I originally got these Hi-Tec's on the cheap so I'm statisfied with how long they lasted.
The North Face Slingshot
My first hiking pack. I retired this bag in December of 2012, after I got my Camelbak.